Friday, January 10, 2014


A few years after my wife and I were married, we were at a friend's home, they were antique dealers, my wife saw a pin she fell in love with, though out of our price range. We discussed the pin and saved up for it and when we went back, it had sold. We were admonished for not just buying it when we saw it and were given a sound piece of advice, "once sold, it is gone forever". A couple of years later we were in another antique shop and in the case, that very same and exact pin, which we bought. Though that particular event has given hope once a piece goes elsewhere, I am still a realist and am of the mind, "see it, love it, buy it", though circumstances and finances are not always co-operative.

Over the years, several pots that I had pursued, but got away, have made their way back through some circuitous adventure or another, the Furutani Michio chawan I wrote about being a prime example. One recent piece springs to mind as I muse about various advice and aphorisms that were have been given. This particular pot was a chawan that showed up at a Japanese gallery on the web about three and a half years ago. I immediately tried contacting the dealer only to find out that the piece was only purchased just minutes prior. Needless to say, I was rather disappointed even though the financial timing was all wrong. Fast forward almost exactly one year and the dealer that bought it decides to put it up for sale on yet another website. If the timing was bad last time, this time it is impossible as we were saving up for a new roof and yes, a roof takes precedence even over pots, or that is at least how my wife thinks. I point the pot out to a collector friend who immediately buys the bowl, gone again. Another two years passes and the collector friend who bought it decides to restructure and refocus his collection and collecting and asks if I want to buy the bowl. Being the third chance to buy the pot I couldn't let daily impediments get in the way and the bowl comes our way along with a generous payment plan, third time ends up being the charm. Finally, the chawan arrives exactly where I thought it should be all along and the moral of the story; it is great to have friends and It would seem that forever is not necessarily as long as we have always been lead to believe.

Illustrated is the chawan in question. Perched atop a high foot and resembling the wobbly posture of the Mine(no)Momiji chawan, this Shino bowl is by Tsukigata Nahiko and the abstract decoration is in fact calligraphy on the omote, face of the piece. This large and generous bowl, rich and over flowing with iron and feldspar, has all of the tell tale characteristics of Tsukigata's work and despite its size, it has a wonderful feel in hand and a presence that beckons the viewer to pick it up. Named the "Autumn Rose"( Aki-bara) the bowl has the posture and presence of a bowl from a much earlier time; Tsukigata infused his study of Momoyama ceramics, his master's work and harnessed his own creative spirit to produce a bowl that adds an innovative twist to the tradition of Shino pottery.